Jeff Belzer and daughter Isla of Ventura, participating in the March 7 beach cleanup. Photo courtesy of @ripcurl_usa

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

On Saturday, March 7, more than 150 volunteers gathered at the Promenade in Ventura to help clean up the beach around Ventura Pier. The cleanup was organized by the Ventura County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and wetsuit and boardwear retailer Rip Curl. Participants in bright orange vests and rubber gloves walked out onto the sand, buckets in hand, to pick up trash and litter, making the beach cleaner and more inviting — and keeping refuse out of the ocean environment.

Later, everyone headed to the Rip Curl store at 227 S. California St. for the after party, where attendees were feted with free tacos from Mom and Pops Taco Truck and live music courtesy of a band that included three-time World Surfing Champion Tom Curren and current World Championship Tour surfer Conner Coffin — both talented musicians as well as world-class athletes. “It was a great, down-to-earth community event tied into a good cause,” said PJ Connell, director of marketing for Rip Curl.